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Earthquake-Proof Table


Photo: Arthur Brutter/Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design

When an earthquake strikes, they say that you should duck and cover underneath a desk. But what makes you think that desk would save you? If it's not sturdy enough, it'll just be another thing that'll fall on your head.

After seeing the devastation of a local school in Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake in 2010, industrial designer Arthur Brutter got the idea to create the world's first earthquake-proof desk - one that is light enough to move around, cheap enough for schools to afford, large enough to fit two students and, of course, strong enough to withstand falling debris.

"A steel cage made of three or four inch steel would withstand any crash for sure," Brutter told Anne Carnick of Larcobaleno,"But nobody could afford it." So, guided by professor Ido Bruno of Bezalel Academy in Israel, Brutter decided to base his table on the structure of the automobile.

"Your car isn't a tank," Brutter explained," It's made of thin metal. When it crashes, you can still get out alive most times because the car was built to collapse in certain points and stay strong in others - and where it collapses, it absorbs the energy of the impact. That's exactly what I wanted to do with a table. We tried to build the lightest, simplest table that was strong in some parts, and designed to break in others and absorb the energy of the falling debris."

The result is the Earthquake-Proof Table or EPT - and the test results were impressive: the table could withstand a ton (literally! That's 1,000 kg or 2,200 lb).

In contrast, a regular desk is completely destroyed by half the weight:

Take a look at the video of the EPT during its test below, then head on over to Larcobaleno for the full story - via NPR's goats and soda.


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